Secluded white sugar-sand beaches. Swaying palm trees. Turquoise-colored gin-clear water. Beautiful coral reefs. The Bahamas “Manana Mon” perspective on time and stress. And, oh yeah, SALT WATER ! Light Sport aircraft can beat corrosion the 4 letter word.
Gee, I’d love to do some seaplane exploring on a Bahama Islands adventure, and beyond. But the increased risk of corrosion and the maintenance expense scream otherwise. For years I’ve flown mostly aluminum or tube & rag floatplanes, all with a great big NO SALT WATER OPERATIONS placard.
So, not that these aircraft can’t work in salt water environments…they do every day. But there is a premium to pay and I’m not willing to pay it. If you do decide to go there, be aware of what you’re getting into.
Enter the composite amphibian light sport aircraft. Now, that’s a bird of a different feather.
There are currently less than a half-dozen aircraft available that check some of the boxes for cost-effective salt water operations, including the ICON A5 but the Super Petrel LS is the best of the best. (Both use the Rotax 912 engine)
It starts with the all composite fuselage/hull and empennage, including the carbon fiber landing gear assembly. It extends to the bi-wing design, with the lower wing effectively blocking salt spray to the engine and prop. Even the wing spar is composed of carbon fiber. The design of the hull as opposed to floats, is a safer and more forgiving design when it comes to rough water handling or in an emergency like an open-ocean ditching.
Every aircraft has its limitations. I can assure you that a high center of gravity, conventional float plane, in a crosswind/downwind situation, adding rough water, can bury a float in a heartbeat. It is not a comfortable place to be, regardless of your skill and experience. In those adverse situations, I’d much prefer to be in a boat that flies rather than a plane that floats!
Want the fun, style, versatility, speed, safety and utility of a terrific saltwater- friendly light sport amphibian aircraft? Check out Super Petrel Light Sport aircraft and check in to your favorite out-island resort. You’ll see that a Light Sport aircraft can beat corrosion the 4 letter word.
Super Cub Owner – Super Petrel Aficionado